South African U/23 champion Clinton Barrow will go head to head with local star Conrad Viljoen in the second leg of the Beachfront Lodges Premier Cycling League in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
According to team lists released by Eastern Province Cycling on Thursday, the 18-year-old Barrow, who is based in Gauteng, has been included in the PE Cycling Club team for the undulating 66-kilometre race that starts and finishes at Cows Corner in the Colleen Glen-area.
The former Port Elizabethan announced himself as a star of the future when he won the national title in his age-group and placed seventh overall among the country’s biggest names in Oudtshoorn in March.
He is expected to give Mecer-NMMU’s Viljoen – who won the first leg in convincing fashion – a run for his money on the three-lap circuit that finishes on the infamous Three Sisters ascent.
“I trained with Clinton this week and he seems to be in good form,” Viljoen said on Thursday. “He will be one of the favourites, for sure.”
Barrow, who will be racing in Europe from July to prepare for the World Championships in Russia in September, said on Thursday that he had been training “extremely hard” during the last two months and that he was looking forward to a good performance on Saturday.
“I haven’t race for a while, so we’ll have to see how it goes,” he said. “I think a top-three position is possible.”
Toyota-Cycle Lab’s team captain, Kevin Dorfling, feared a podium whitewash by Mecer-NMMU if the top teams allowed them to dictate proceedings.
“Conrad, Jade (Muller) and Mark (Murray) have been climbing consistently well and it will take a concerted and organised effort to deny them on a hilltop finish like this.”
Apart from Barrow, he named team-mate Francois van Heerden as an outsider for the major placings. The 32-year-old former Ironman showed that he could handle the hills as well as anyone else when he placed second behind Viljoen in last month’s Makana Brick race in Grahamstown.
Another feature of the event, which is based on an open six-man team format, is a Nashua women’s team that will be competing on equal terms with the men. Included in their ranks are top professional riders Anriëtte Schoeman and Robyn de Groot.
A Cycle Challenge, which is open to anyone, will be held on the same circuit in conjunction with the main event. Entry costs R30.
Registration for both races is from 1pm, with racing starting at 2pm.
For more information, contact Shane Bradfield on 074 114 4811.
Full Stop Communications
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